Iowa's Aaron Graves becomes first in state history to win MaxPreps Athlete of the Year

Incoming Iowa football freshman Aaron Graves' list of accolades has already solidified him as one of the best athletes in state history. On Wednesday, he received an honor that put him in a class of his own. 

Graves was named the MaxPreps Male Athlete of the Year nationally. Graves joins a list of past winners that include NFL superstars Derrick Henry, Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray and NBA players Lonzo Ball and Jalen Sugges. Graves is the first Iowan to win the award. 

A quick glance at his resume explains why he was the recipient. Graves is a four-sport athlete at Southeast Valley High School. He's the school's all-time leading scorer in basketball (1,356 points), all-time leader in shot put in track and field (52 feet, 2 inches) and is a two-time district champion and two-time fourth-place finisher in the state wrestling finals. In his primary sport, football, Graves led Southeast Valley to the state championship as an All-American two-way lineman. 

Read more about Graves:Iowa football recruit Aaron Graves already has a college degree, but he still has big goals

With his most notable high school award in hand, Graves will officially enroll at Iowa this weekend and will look to crack the Hawkeyes' defensive line rotation as a freshman. And expectations are high for the incoming prospect. 

"Aaron's going to come in here looking like the rest of the guys who've been here for three or four years," Iowa defensive line coach Kelvin Bell said of Graves this spring. "The challenge is he didn't get a COVID year with coach Bell learning the ins and outs of the system nor did he get the 15 (spring practices) our early enrollees had. So he's going to come in physically looking like Tarzan. We've just got to get him to be like Tarzan. But I'm excited that he's here, trust me." 

Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at